Living Jewels
Masterpieces from Nature: Coral, Pearls, Horn, Shell, Wood & Other Exotica
Living Jewels
Author(s): Ruth Peltason
Illustrations: 320 full-color illustrations
Pages: 224 pages
Trim Size: 9 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches
Format: Hardcover with jacket
ISBN: 978-0-86565-267-5
Published Date: 11/01/2010
Price: US $50.00 CAN $65.00
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Praise for Living Jewels:

“For those of us who consider jewelry part of enduring style, Living Jewels is a must. Here's a book that is welcoming and inspiring, and a tribute to the artists who have made these exquisite pieces. Living Jewels is a book I'll treasure.”

— Kate Spade

Living Jewels sends a message, loud and clear: there's more to fine jewelry than gemstones. A lot more, as it turns out. Ruth Peltason has assembled two centuries' worth of spectacular examples, showcasing materials and techniques long considered peripheral or inferior to the big rocks that have dominated the category and its history. The result makes an expert, irrefutable case for coral, wood, pearls, amber, shell, horn, and any number of nature's other sublime inventions as inspiration for exquisite artistry and design. As stylish, witty, and glamorous as the treasures it celebrates, Living Jewels is destined to become an instant, indispensable reference for connoisseurs and an irresistible delight for any woman who loves jewelry and wears it.”

— Holly Brubach

“Global glam at its finest.” — Houston Chronicle


Beautiful jewelry made from natural materials fill the pages of this sumptuous book. Organized by material - pearls, shells, coral, horn, wood, and much more - with an emphasis on important motifs of the jeweler's art, the book features more than 300 brooches, necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets from the collections of the Duchess of Windsor, Diana Vreeland, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Ellen Barkin, as well as from the design archives of Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Verdura, Bulgari, Tiffany, and many other important jewelry designers. Every major period of jewelry of the past 200 years is covered - Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Retro, and Contemporary. Many of the objects appear here for the first time.

The chapters include a variety of entertaining profiles on subjects such as David Webb; the changing fashions of the 1960s and 70s; Chanel; Orchids and Art Nouveau; the Grand Tour; Cartier and Art Deco; Ivory and the Nude; the Baroda pearls (the most expensive pearls to sell at auction); Paul Poiret; Boivin; A Mania for Motifs; JAR; Andrew Grima; and the Duchess of Windsor (“Small Woman, Big Stones"). Helpful sidebars cover various types of wood, famous pearls, and a lexicon of imaginary beasts in jewelry.


About the Contributor(s)


Ruth Peltason worked with Elizabeth Taylor on The New York Times bestseller My Love Affair with Jewelry (S&S). A widely experienced writer, editor, and designer of books on the visual arts and a former editor at Abrams, she now runs Bespoke Books in New York.